Kirti Kulhari began her acting career in 2010 with Khichdi the Movie. Noticed for her performance in Shaitaan, she has taken a patient journey to get mainstream recognition and come to a stage where people, on the streets, identify her. In Shoojit Sircar’s hard-hitting drama, Pink, Kirti had one of the most powerful moments onscreen. She was the one who called out the legal system of India on it’s an assessment of sexual abuse, making an immediate impact with her performance.
With Uri: The Surgical Strike becoming a sleeper super hit, and the web series Four More Shots, Please getting a steady following on Amazon Prime Video, Kulhari has a lot more room to choose from now. “Four More Shots, Please happens to be my first series. It did bring me a lot of love and recognition. When a show and film do well have a ripple effect is that it brings you decent parts. People around you know more about you. For me, I think it’s been a collective impact and the timing has been right. Both coming in together has been positive. I have also working on a couple of other projects that are slated to release in the next few months. What’s most gratifying is that it means more work and it also means that a lot more people have seen you,” she says.
Kirti will be next seen in Netflix's Bard of Blood, an espionage thriller, the first original series by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment for the streaming giant. To be dropped worldwide, this one features her as a spy of interesting ethnic origin. The actor said, “In Bard of Blood, which is an espionage thriller, a space that I enjoy watching. I am playing a Baluchi girl in the show. I had a great time understanding so much about what goes on in the world around us. That’s a blessing of being an actor- things that don’t bother you otherwise, topics that you don’t know of, you get to learn about. Emraan Hashmi is not friendly initially but he is courteous. When we broke the ice, he is great fun. We’ve got a great bunch of actors with Shobhita Dhulipalia and Jaideep Ahlawat. I speak a lot of Urdu in the film and I love speaking the language!" The series should begin streaming in August or September, a rewarding time for Kirti who also stars in the much-awaited Mission Mangal, a multi starrer toplined by Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan and Sonakshi Sinha. “Mission Mangal is about the Mars Mission where regular people, scientists, and regular heroes made it happen. I play Neha Siddiqui, who has her own problems in her personal life. But in her professional life, she is part of a team that is working towards a much larger mission. I must say that I have never ever had so much fun on a film set before. All these big names in the cast and I didn’t know how it’s going to be. But the sheer discipline and energy were great. It was an absolutely tantrum free set man!. Talking about her co-stars, Kriti added, “Akshay brought so much warmth and Vidya Balan is such a sweetheart. Akshay would get food for us from home every day. These small gestures go a long way in making that difference because ultimately we spend most of our time on a film set. It’s great to make that a warm and loving space.”
Being an actor hasn’t meant a lot of visibility or heroine roles for this Mumbai girl. An outsider whose father worked in the Navy and sister works as a doctor in the Indian Army, she chose to pick roles that added to her repertoire, even if that meant waiting. Uri holds a special place, where she had little screen time but room to make a lot of impact. “As an actor, I take my role very seriously. Or I could say that I am a star who wants to work only as the main girl, whatever that means. I remember someone telling me recently that what was Parineeti doing in Kesari and Sara Ali Khan in Simmba. The conversation around the length of the role is just people’s perceptions. I chose Uri- the Surgical Strike because I loved playing an Air Force officer and being part of a film that is based on recent surgical strikes. It’s a combination of many things for me when I choose a role. As an actor, I have to constantly make that choice of what a role adds to my profile as an actor…I could have played the game of playing the heroine parts, but that doesn’t always become the most interesting thing," revealed Kriti.
As the streaming platforms acquire and produce original Indian content, lives of actors like Kirti Kulhari has changed. There’s an opportunity to stand out and beat the requirements of the Bollywood star-driven system. She explains, “It is changing and has become very visible within the film industry. People who can act a little bit, are so much in demand today. For the typical Bollywood film, even today the success of your last film is what still matters because distributors and their preferences kick in. Unlike male lead actors, as female actors, there’s room to do interesting roles. People are looking for actors. So while everyone is getting a chance because there’s so much demand, but a lot of mediocrity is also seeping in. I would also point out that people prefer to see even a major star as a character today; otherwise, they reject a film. For me, it would be difficult to play a heroine, who has shit to do in it."
"For me, it’s always a question of what do I get out of this? It matters to me of course. It’s also helping me work with people that I enjoy collaborating with. I am in a better position to choose, in terms of both the work that I do and the people that I am working with now," she adds.Read More